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Red Cross brands assaults on medics in conflict zones a ‘humanitarian tragedy’

Violence against medical personnel in areas of unrest costing millions of lives, according to ICRC report

Global Development at The Guardian UK  August 10, 2011

International Committee of the Red Cross director Yves Daccord

Attacks on doctors and healthcare workers in conflicts from Somalia to Afghanistan have a drastic knock-on effect by jeopardising the health of millions, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a report on Wednesday.

“Violence that prevents the delivery of healthcare is currently one of the most urgent, yet overlooked, humanitarian tragedies,” Yves Daccord, ICRC director-general, said in a statement. “Hospitals in Sri Lanka and Somalia have been shelled, ambulances in Libya shot at, paramedics in Colombia killed, and wounded people in Afghanistan forced to languish for hours in vehicles held up in checkpoint queues. The issue has been staring us in the face for years. It must end.”

According to Dr Robin Coupland, who led research carried out in 16 countries, millions could be spared if the delivery of healthcare were more widely respected.

“The most shocking finding is that people die in large numbers not because they are direct victims of a roadside bomb or a shooting,” he said. “They die because the ambulance does not get there in time, because healthcare personnel are prevented from doing their work, because hospitals are themselves targets of attacks or simply because the environment is too dangerous for effective healthcare to be delivered

August 10, 2011 - Posted by | Humanitarian Assistance, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , ,

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